At Hansa Cequity, we believe successful enterprises of tomorrow will be the ones who can organize and leverage customer information at speed , to optimize their marketing performance, increase accountability, improve profit and deliver growth. Hansa Cequity insights will bring to you trends and insights in this area and it's our way of sharing best practices so as to help you accelerate this culture and thinking in your organization. We call this kind of an approach Analytical Marketing and we will constantly bring in "best practices" for improving your capabilities in Analytical Marketing.

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Test or get Fired! Harrah’s casino’s amazing philosophy


Analytics needs a evangelist! Without such a person, you just don’t get the impact that Analytics actually is capable of providing! Mostly this evangelist needs to be right at the top, the CEO!

Of course, some CMOs have led their organizations into embracing the practice, including John Costello, former exec VP-CMO of Home Depot; John Elkins, head of global brand and marketing at Visa International; and Cathy Lyons, CMO-exec VP at Hewlett-Packard.

One organization which has become a huge case study in the application of a “fact” based approach to business is Harrah’s Enetrtainment!

In 1998, as Harrah’s was about to embark on wave of expansion, their CEO Philip Satre asked Gary Loveman to take a break from Harvard to become chief operating officer of Harrah’s Entertainment. The important thing was the he was not brought in as a CMO but as the COO-he had the line authority to make changes that would impact the business!!

“In terms of income, it was actually a pay cut,” Loveman says, since he had to forego the consulting that supplemented his income as a professor.

He went on to develop the gaming industry’s most successful loyalty and analytics program—Total Rewards—which boasts more than 40 million members.

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In an interesting article, Karl Taro Greenfeld  says this about Gary Loveman, who has since then also become the CEO:  the chief executive officer of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the largest gaming corporation in the world, sees his customers as a set of probabilities wrapped in human flesh.

Since taking over as CEO in 2003, Loveman, 50, has relied on the numbers to build Harrah’s from a regional operator of 15 casinos to one with 39 in the U.S. and 13 more overseas.

His first big move as COO was to start a loyalty program called Total Rewards, which became such a success -- growing to over 40 million members by 2010, the largest database of probabilities in the industry -- that by the time Satre stepped down in 2003, Loveman had become the logical choice to succeed him.

Loveman earned a Ph.D. in economics at MIT and went on to become CEO, president, and chairman of Caesars Entertainment, owner of Harrah's casinos and other resorts worldwide.

Loveman says there are three ways to get fired from the hotel and casino company: theft, sexual harassment, and running an experiment without a control group.

But this seems like common sense, run experiments , see what works & scale up! And yet very few companies do it.

 Dan Ariely, a behavioral economics professor at Duke University and the author of Predictably Irrational, outlined some of the resistance to experimentation that he's come up against.

“I’ve often tried to help companies do experiments, and usually I fail spectacularly,” Ariely writes. For a company struggling with getting a good bonus system in place, he suggested experiments or even just a survey. Management, he says, “didn’t want to add to the trouble by messing with people’s bonuses merely for the sake of learning. But the employees are already unhappy, I thought, and the experiments would have provided evidence for how to make them less so in the years to come.”

But Gary Loveman managed to stay incredibly committed to Testing. These tests run from the use of coupons to offers of free meals or hotel stays, all designed to get customers to spend more money during their playtime.

This is what he said when asked about the Testing culture: “We need to overcome hunch and intuition with empirical evidence. . . . We can start with a hunch or strong belief, but we act on it through experiment. We want evidence. We’ve gone from the introduction of experimentation as a technique to a culture of experimentation as a business discipline. We hire people predisposed to do this by temperament and by background. Organizationally, we’re committed—and I’m committed—to making sure we have the discipline to have the decisions we make informed by this evidence”.

And yet we mustn’t forget that Harrah’s is not an easy business to run. Currently they have,$23 billion in long-term debt & have gone through some aggressive financial re structuring.

And lastly we must also ask ourselves, is this kind of Analytics good for society! Keeping gamblers coming back may hurt them & cause a lot of turmoil in many lives! Doesn't analytics have a social responsibility!

4 year view or a 20 year view


I saw this wonderful video of Vinod Khosla interviewing Larry Page & Sergey Brin.

4 year view or a 20 year view!!

It raises some very interesting questions. What do companies need to do to grow? How should companies look at the Short term vs long term? Taking a 4 year view vs a 20 year view are two fundamentally different philosophies. It is difficult to solve a “big problem” in 4 years & easy to do in 20 years. Google, of course likes to take on “big problems”.

So is Google a search company or will it be a larger Health company in the future. Or will it be an Artificial intelligence company?

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Do have a look at this (long) but interesting video.

So Short term vs Long term? How many traditional companies would invest in something like Google Brain- a machine learning initiative to help make computing more efficient and capable by mimicking the distributed processes of the human brain. And yet Artificial intelligence is more than 60 years old as an application area. One reason why some experts believe AI is beginning to achieve its long-imagined potential is the explosion of data on the web.

So the question we need to ask is whether we have a 4 year view of Analytics or a 20 year view?

Maybe this may lead to the following questions to ponder over:

  1. Does your company do analytics or does it compete with analytics?
  2. Does "deep personalisation" have a role to play in your company & industry?
  3. Do analytics team participate in deeper strategic & longer term decisions in the company?
  4. Do Analytics folk with their deep specialist background have the skills to participate in such initiatives?
  5. Will unsupervised techniques like AI begin to threaten the Analytics profession (as we know it now); will it reduce the need for data scientists?


The Predictive shopping list & the Walmart gorilla


The best shopping list is one you don't actually have to create. When a giant like Walmart changes its mind about running a Loyalty program, it is time to sit & take notice.

Walmart has been synonymous with Everyday Low Prices(EDP). But unlike other supermarket chains like Kroger and Safeway, Walmart did not have a crucial marketing element-- A loyalty card.

Now Walmart is taking a distinctly different route towards loyalty. Savings Catcher, which began with a seven-city test this spring and rolls out nationally this summer, automatically gives shoppers refunds for the difference between what they paid at Walmart and lower prices advertised by competitors.


@WalmartLabs in Silicon Valley is planning to make shopper data and analytics from the program available to shoppers themselves, in a departure from most loyalty programs. Walmart is building capabilities that will let people search and sort their receipts, get pie charts breaking down how they spend their money, generate "predictive shopping lists," keep a running tab of in-store purchases to stay on budget, get notifications when there's a manufacturer coupon available for an item on their list, or get the best-priced bundle of items within a pre-set budget.

More importantly, this is an interesting trend where companies are beginning to use analytics for “consumer consumption”.

Campaign management as you know it is Dead


There is so much talk about Customer centricity. And yet no one function in a company really owns the customer. In a service organisation (banks, Retailers etc), often Marketing plays that role. But do Marketers play this role well & are they able to do the “productive conflict” that is needed with the “lines of business” to produce a Customer oriented outcome.

Why is it that the Campaign management team is considered a purely tactical organisation?  Across banks, telecom companies & other customer facing businesses, I often observe that Campaign management is treated as a function that is at the bottom of the Analytical marketing totem pole. And yet nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, consumers have access to a huge array of channels and tools as well as a social megaphone to reach brands. This shift firmly places the consumer in the driver’s seat. And yet the “last mile” that creates engagement with customers is considered a purely tactical function. Customer centricity needs anchoring within the organization to create more meaningful impact.

Campaign execution is boring. If it is seen as a pure “execution “job, this function will be staffed by people who automate & run tools. I am not saying that this is not important. It is crucial to correctly engage with customers. But what is critical is to have a Customer strategy & in today’s world with real time marketing, this is becoming even more critical. Often in a bank, product managers will decide what customers to contact & with what offer. In the absence of a Customer segment strategy, the bank will continuously bombard customers with offers because each product manager will drive campaigns to the customer.

But what if campaign management is looked at more strategically, as a "real time, customer engagement team".Mckinsey shared this wonderful infographic that truly demonstrates this new reality!

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Do senior managers inside companies recognise this reality? Do HR leaders appreciate the need for this competency? Is there a skill level inside the organization to handle the customer strategy issues, the data issues, the campaign design issues and the reporting issues? And, as the complexity increases exponentially with testing and rapidly increased campaigns, is there the ability to scale those resources?

Also do companies have a career path for people who do this? Marketing ranks low in sales-driven organizations, where the function’s leaders focus mostly on corporate communications and brand campaigns. Rethinking campaigns needs, a different CMO, much closer to peers on the executive team, who can deliver a Business impact. And who believes that campaign management can play a larger role.

How can Marketing leaders make the Campaign management function more strategic? To begin with campaign management must connect to larger Customer strategy. A few key drivers can be:


  1. Support an institutional memory of the customer-different silos or “lines of business” creating campaigns & running them independently means that you do not have a centralised contact history or “intelligence” about customer response. Building this is not just an IT job of building a data mart or data warehouse. Rather it is an ongoing effort to create Customer intelligence in a central environment.
  2. Enable dialogues not just campaigns. If campaigns are seen as just “list pulls”, then anyone who knows basis SQL should be able to do the job. But the consumer is no longer ready to listen to “push marketing” & the creation of a “dialogue factory” is one essential element of a strong Customer strategy.
  3. Creating a Digital campaign management Hub : Important to develop a customer segment-based organisation structure with a single function owning customer contact strategy. This is not easy to do & many companies struggle without it. One way is to centralise the campaign management organisation which unifies inbound and outbound marketing programs. It also bridges the online and offline gaps-now Campaign management is not only about sending an email or a sms.The Digital hub therefore needs a variety of skills-traditional campaign management combined with string digital thinking.  In the Digital hub, one integrated team does: social insights, customer strategy & campaign execution across channels.

    4.    Create a Customer Intelligence Unit: Who owns client insights and the ultimate customer value proposition? Customer intelligence is different from Business intelligence.Analytics can provide a huge diffrentiator to how companies understand their customers.

    5.    Establish a strong Customer management council: group of top leaders in the company who are able to mediate to solve the issues that arise out of taking customer centric action. This council becomes a strong enabler for Campaign management playing a differentiated role.



Wake up & smell the Customer!


It is interesting that there is so much talk about Customer Centricity but as consumers we don’t seem to feel the effect. And yet there are mountains of content around Customer centricity & no shortage of experts that espouse a new theory (me included!!). Harvard even runs an Executive development growth called “leading growth through Customer centricity”. And yet as consumers we just don’t see the impact!

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placing the customer at the center of a company's marketing effort, focusing on customers rather than sales's 21st Century Lexicon

 HBS professor Ranjay Gulati, an expert on leadership, strategy, and organizational issues in firms, describes how companies can evolve through four levels to become more customer-centric. Customer-centric companies tracked by Gulati between 2001 and 2007 delivered shareholder returns of 150 percent while the S&P 500 delivered 14 percent.

Gulati’s research suggests that the gaps lie in Execution...

“As I delved deeper into companies seeking to become more customer-centric, the biggest gap I discovered was the one between awareness and action. Much to my surprise, even if an organization and its employees became consummate listeners and tried to make sense of what they were hearing, they were often immobilized to do much with their insights. Why? The more I researched, the more it became apparent that the problem had to do with internal silos. Most organizations today are still typically built around product and geography, and do not have a clear line of sight to the customer. These silos not only create proverbial blind spots for firms but also impede coordinated action toward addressing what may be identified as central for their customers”.

So the ball drops because the responsibility for stewardship of the customer doesn’t really have a clear owner though it should be owned by the company as a whole.

Marketers are often under pressure to create Customer centric initiatives & often that leads to a “check box” approach where the CMO checks off initiatives that can be done: launch a loyalty program, do customer Listening using Social media listening tools, create Analytics capability, focus on Customer experience etc.

Technology vendors are also completely in love with the “customer”. Since 2012, I have been observing IBM reinforcing the theme- “Meet the new Chief Executive Customer. That’s who’s driving the new science of marketing.”

A recent survey from Forrester again enhances the need for customer centricity, even in the Indian context

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And yet in every company, business managers look at the customer from the eyes of their “silo” or category. In a FMCG company, you have different category leaders in marketing all decoding the customer in different ways. Banks have a different view of the customer across the credit cards, deposits & lending spaces.

This may need CMO’s to think about the following:

  1. Think about raising the Customer agenda across the company at a senior level. People like to talk about the “customer” but it may be useful to create actionable micro programs that carry the “customer agenda” forward.
  2. Think about building a Analytical marketing competency that allows the marketing organisation to share customer insights across the organisation. Marketers have always done this using market research. How about using other data that is core to the organisation –customer’s transactional data. And then using that to create insights that business functions start to believe in.
  3. Don't buy Marketing technology blindly. Allow your customer strategy to guide your choice of technology components for Marketing
  4. Creating a Customer intelligence organisation, whether within the Marketing team or as a partner organisation. Think about the complexities of where the Analytics team will make the most impact. Marketing has a very good opportunity of being the "change agent" & owning this function.Customer organization resized 600





Customer equity # large database


Apparently it is not enough to be customer-focused anymore; to succeed, businesses must be customer-obsessed.

 But having a large customer database does not mean that you are focused on Customer equity.

 Today launched a fee-based membership programme called Flipkart First, as the company steps up efforts to retain customers. Under the scheme, Flipkart is offering services such as free shipping, free one-day delivery and other benefits. Flipkart, will select 75,000 customers who will get the Flipkart First service free of cost for three months.

 Amazon, the world's biggest retail store, maintains extensive records on its 59 million active customers including demographic information (phone number address, etc), receipts, wishlists, and tonnes of other data. Amazon also keeps more than 250,000 full text books available online and allows users to comment and interact on virtually every page of the website, making Amazon one of the world's largest online communities.

This data coupled with millions of items in inventory Amazon sells each year makes for one very large database. Amazon's two largest databases combine for more than 42 terabytes of data.

Amazon has about 59 million active customers


It is interesting how many large customer databases exist in the US?

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And yet India has an explosion of Customer databases? Though at an early stage, not that many companies have 50 million & more customers in their database.

India is likely to have the second-largest Internet user base in the world, and the largest in terms of incremental growth, with 330 million to 370 million Internet users in 2015. So the large e commerce & social media players in India will have substantial customer databases.

Telecom has been another stupendous story. The total subscriber base as of June 2013 was 903 million vis-a-vis 22.8 million total subscribers in 1999. Mobile subscribers accounting for 96.7% of total subscriber base are responsible for this phenomenal growth in telecom. The country has achieved overall teledensity of 73.5, urban teledensity of 145 and rural teledensity of 42.

So India should be the “customer database capital of the world”

Flipkart, which employs over 10,000 people, has about 18 million registered users with around 3.5 million daily visits

And yet that is miniscule when you compare it to SBI, which now has 153.9 million savings bank account holders.

Globally, Truecaller has over 45 million users. However, more than half of it, 25 million users are from India.

India has rising levels of urbanization, rapid growth in its consumer base, and one of the most youthful demographic profiles worldwide. Almost 58 percent of the population is under 30 years of age. The urban population is already sizable, at 377 million in 2011, or 31 percent of India’s total population. 

As per 2011 census, India has a population of 1.20  billion (120 crore), has about 1 billion (100 crore) mobile phones, 640,000 villages, 75% literacy, 2.5% (30 million) income tax payer base, 4% (50 million) passport, 12% (150 million) driving license, less than 20% (250 million) bank account, 33% (400 million) migrant labourers and 60% (750 million) very poor people i.e. they live under Rs. 100 ($2) per day income and starve at least one meal everyday

By April 2014, about 51% population holds Aadhaar. The Aadhaar program has already achieved the critical mass as of March 2014 by assigning 600 million (60 crore) Aadhar nos.

 But how do our marketers relate to customer databases?

  1. A customer database is valuable because you know your customer by name & address-you can now reach her. But if treated like another mass medium, it actually takes away the brand equity. Brands who don’t respect the customer & spam her thru mass marketing techniques do more damage than anything else. Customer equity cannot be taken for granted.
  2.  It takes efforts to analyse your customer database. Marketers need to bring in analytics to fill the gap. But often, expectations around analytics are “unreal”. No amount of analytics can bring in “new business”. Analytics can only help bring in “new business at a lower cost”.
  3. Marketers need to learn how to add more information about customers. Most databases still have sketchy information about customers. As consumers we don’t give marketers information unless there is a valid reason for it. Gartner says: “Consumers are in a privacy paradox: They value their privacy, but will happily divulge their personal information in return for free access to a service or financial benefit”. Personal data has become a new currency of the digital age
  4. 4.    Marketing departments need to have a Chief marketing technology officer who helps them take technology decisions. Who manages the customer database & creates value out of this asset.

    5.    And a new breed of marketers who are able to connect the customer database with social media & other sources of customer information. If done well, this can lead to powerfully relevant offers that create a customer experience.

    6.    So Customer loyalty is far more than a having a database, creating a loyalty program & giving points. How many points and rewards programs are you a member of? Most don’t drive value for the customer. Despite what AIMIA & Loyalty One may say, loyalty programs are “much more than points”. Think Customer equity & be loyal to the customer, don’t ask the customer to be loyal to you first.






Life changing events! Think customers not campaigns!


Life has interesting turns-singles find partners, have children, then children go off to college & parents become empty nesters & finally look forward to retirement.A lot of companies today interact directly with their customers & have this information somewhere in their data.

Getting insight into where people are now in their lives enables a good prediction of where they are headed, and their journey ahead drives their financial behaviour, investment interests and spending propensity.

As marketers, we are constantly thinking about how to do campaigns to target customers better. But that is not the most effective way to create value. Our “push” marketing is bugging customers & a 50% drop off on a customer list because the customer has classified herself as “Do not disturb” is not uncommon. So shouldn’t marketers be thinking about how to build a “dialogue” with their customers & not only a push based “monologue”.

Consumers are constantly leaving behind trails of information about their life stage with the marketer-either in transactional databases or in social media. Marketers are also engaging with their customers where they are picking up information-through call centres, through channel promotions! And there are literally millions of such events coursing through the company’s data systems. Not all are relevant & not all are indicative of a “customer need”. But many are & must be leveraged to drive marketing action. And now with social data this information has become a deluge!

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Using “events” in the same way as the body uses its “nervous system” can allow marketers to create a marketing capability that is “highly relevant”. When marketers leverage “time to contact” so effectively using “events” they change the marketing paradigm. Marketing now almost becomes a “service” because it is anticipating the customer’s needs. We call this a “to service is to sell” strategy.

Many events are simple & direct (birthday, product purchase etc) & some events can be inferred from data - combinations of small changes to data are used to identify potential customer status changes e.g. knowing that someone has changed car, moved to a better area, may be of interest?

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Here are a few interesting Life stage events:

  1. Nalin  calls up his DTH provider to ask for his set top box to be shifted to a new location-that‘s a change in address & leads to a life stage change. New home movers tend to be more likely to take personal loans & a host of other products & services. New home owners or movers are a great marketing opportunity.
  2. Suruchi gets married & needs to change her name on both her PAN card & on her bank account. This is a significant life stage change & will drive changes in her household-how she spends & how she saves.

I saw an interesting article in the Mint that gave me ideas on how to leverage data better for Life stage marketing. Have a look at this article:

What are the challenges in doing this?

  1. Marketing needs more technology savvy folk to tread this path. Where is the event data & how can we assemble it cost effectively are important questions?
  2. It is a huge change in philosophy-from push to pull & from monologue to dialogue. This needs the CMO & CEO to buy in. And you need to set up clear objectives that align to this philosophy.
  3. Analytics folk may see this as a threat to their “predictive model” world & may not embrace it quickly.
  4. We need a new tribe of Tech analysts-people who understand tech, big data, social & analytics (whew, are there such people out there!!). Probably you need innovation oriented techs who can learn the other aspects! Or you can partner with specialist companies who can partner you in building such an ecosystem (apologies, but Cequity is one such company!) They can work to set up systems & technology that you need to drive this form of marketing.
  5. And we need the Marketing folk to start talking to Customer service & create a common Customer strategy



Marketing is sexy & Tech is oh so boring!


NASSCOM in India is talking about CMO’s & their technology spends. So you know that change is in the air. Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMO’s will spend more than CIO’s in technology. Marketers are investing a fair amount in digital & that is creating the interest for the IT companies. And Marketing is capturing huge amounts of data now & is beginning to build capability in analytics to be able to make sense of this data.

So they now need to manage this data & use it effectively. NASSCOM estimates that US$37 billion worth of CMO opportunities will be created In India by 2020. But how well do marketers understand IT. Marketers are turned on by “innovation & change “while the typical IT person is turned on by “reliability & continuity”. This is why IT has words in their lexicon like “Change control” & marketers look at stuff like this with scorn.And yet Marketing now has access to literally 1000's of vendors who can provide technology that helps improve customer experience or extract valuable insight or automate their marketing.So even if Marketing is sexy & technology is very boring, marketers need to deal with this flood of geeky stuff coming their way.

Scott Brinker has this wonderful graphic that shows the landscape of Marketing technology

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So how do you bridge this gap between the CMO & CIO? By bringing in a senior technology person within the Marketing team. Analysts at both Forrester Research and Gartner have independently advocated for this senior level position. Forrester calls it the “marketing technology office.”

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Gartner refers to it as a chief marketing technologist. Within large companies — more than $500 million in annual revenue — 70% of them now have a chief marketing technologist role (source: Gartner)

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Few companies have taken this even further. At Marriott, the CIO now reports to the CMO. At Motorola Solutions, a single person is the senior vice president of marketing and IT.

Or maybe the solution is not as radical & in fact the magic lies in collaborating with the CIO & finding common ground.

Big accountability & analytics


Last year, in a discussion with INSEAD students, I wondered why more companies are not using analytics to make decisions. I saw the Banking world as having adopted analytics but for many other businesses analytics still was about “sexy insight” & not a “better decision”.

Michael Schrage has this interesting comment: “The emerging cultural challenge for leadership is whether analytics-driven accountability cuts both ways. Are business unit leaders and top executives using analytics to make themselves more transparent and accountable? Should “accountability analytics” be internally branded as a something “shared” rather than “imposed?”

 Making Analytics sexy doesn’t make it easier to implement! And this is where the challenge lies in Analytics. Striking headlines make for easy copy but don’t do wonders for executing analytic intent within a corporation.

Amidst all the hype about Big data, the reality that many organizations grapple with is change management: can they can manage the human and process changes necessary to make the most of their analytics initiatives.

I wrote about this here:

Analytics doesn’t need you to solve a technical problem but a “social” one. Embedding analytics into the fabric of the company is critical. How do you demystify it & how do you link it to practical stuff. This is where there exists a huge "Execution gap". Companies need to focus on this to get results out of their Analytics initiatives.

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Start with a decision in mind & work backwards, not with the data in mind & working forward. Link Analytics to “the last mile”.Analytics should not be expected to deliver a “Aha moment”-instead it is a factory approach to improved decisions

So analytics is not a planning tool as much as it is an Execution tool.

Are our Analytics teams equipped to do this? Most people in Analytics don’t come with a lot of experience across many other functions: Marketing, Sales, and Manufacturing etc. So how much do they really know about Real life decision making? Do they want to know?Does it not make Analytics far more accountable. Should we not be talking about Big accountability & not Big data?

WhatsApp unlocks $19 billion of Customer Equity!


Global carriers lost a combined $32 billion in revenue last year as consumers shifted from costly text messages to cheap Internet messaging services, according to the research firm Ovum.

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Facebook has acquired WhatsApp for $19B; WhatsApp’s 419 million users average 27B sent messages a day and 70% of them use it daily; 70% of WhatsApp users use the service every day, compared with only 61% for Facebook.WhatsApp claims to have 20 million million monthly active users in India.

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And there are 1 million new users joining each day across the world. WhatsApp refers to 10 billion inbound sent messages and 17 billion outbound received messages on a daily basis. And yet they don’t capture a lot of data that can power analytics. Maybe Facebook will begin to change that!

Google paid $1.65B for YouTube’s ~70 million users in October 2006 (~$24 per user) and Facebook acquired Instagram’s ~30 mn users for $1B in April 2012 (~$33 per user). At $19B, WhatsApp’s 450 million users are being acquired for about $42 per user. Yahoo paid $1.1B for Tumblr’s 300 mn users in May 2013, or ~$3 per user. (Source: Dan Soloman)

So absolutely no correlation between what you pay per user & widely disparate punts seem to be taken by every player. But clearly Facebook is looking at Customer Lifetime value & WhatsApp has unlocked its Customer equity!!

Implications for Marketers:

  1. WhatsApp's success appears to signal a shift in social networking, from networking with big and open social networks to networking with closed groups.
  2. From Power brands to Power customers: This will continue to put pressure on Brands to engage with their consumers in personal dialogue & not a 30 sec “monologue”. 8 in 10 consumers digitally engage with brands, while one-quarter are "brand connected consumers" (BCCs) who both post to and about brands online at least once a week, according to a new survey by JWT, OgilvyAction and EXPO. These BCCs use social media sites more frequently than the average consumer, and they expect their online voices to be heard. With Facebook, there may be a way for brands to connect Fans with Whats APP, if that happens, it becomes another vehicle for driving conversations between brands & individual consumers
  3. Serving the Bottom of the pyramid: lower income strata are bigger users of WhatsApp so it would be interesting to see it unfold in India & elsewhere. Though it needs a smart phone to access!!
  4. Push towards more analytics: Facebook owns personal data in ways that others cannot possibly imagine, and now it has access to literally billions of conversations, images, and video. WhatsApp does not require a lengthy sign-up or sign-in process, but Facebook will now have access to every single address book, every personal conversation between parties. They’ll be able to study emerging markets in ways that Google cannot and for the near future, will own most of "what we know about ourselves".
  5. Connecting messaging to commerce: While Whats App has been very true to its vision of having "no gimmicks". Competitor, WeChat, started monetising from stickers, games and in-app payments last year.
 It is now not just a messaging app but a mobile wallet. Over Chinese New Year, WeChat started a ‘virtual angpow’ campaign, with a gaming option for people to send money to friends. The results were reportedly phenomenal, between the evening until 4PM on the first day of Chinese New Year, a total of 75 million virtual angpows were transacted across more than 5 million users. What this means is that WeChat has linked more users’ bank accounts to its profile. This is awesome & I can just imagine similar stuff at Diwali in India
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